Podcast 271: Next level command line

Saying hello to new command line options and goodbye to a great timekeeper. Plus, the mixed economic incentives for developers who want to flee big cities.

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This week we chat about GitHub CLI 1.0 and the joy of updates that solve little, persistent problems. Later on we chat about the end of Moment.js and every coder's favorite subject, time. Finally we dig into Stripe's move to pay bonuses but cut salaries for employees who depart big cities for less expensive locales.

You can check out more about the Github news here.

Here is the farewell to updates from Moment.js.

Would you take a nice bonus today for a pay cut in the future? Stripe is offering its employees that option, spurred by an exodus of developers from dense urban areas.

A big thanks to Jim Mischel, who was our lifeboat badge winner of the week.


Sara Chipps You know what, here's what I've learned in the past three months, is that you don't want to talk to someone who owns property in New York about how everyone's moving out of New York. [Paul laughs]

Ben Popper Sorry, guys. Didn't mean to pour salt in the wound. [Ben laughs]


BP Hello, good morning, everybody. And welcome to the Stack Overflow podcast. I'm Ben Popper here with my co-hosts, Paul and Sara. Good morning, y'all.

Paul Ford Hey, good morning!

SC Good morning, Ben! Good morning, Paul!

BP So this morning, my dad who's visiting asked me, ''Ben, what's Snowflake?'' And I said, ''I don't know, cloud data, something base, I don't know.''

PF This is actually, that's a very risky question from a dad, like, you know, it could be that he was reading the wrong part of Twitter. And he's like, ''I need to understand snowflakes.''

SC It could be that he put his whole retirement fund in Snowflake and needs to know.

BP Right. There's somebody who called him a snowflake, or he invested in Snowflake, it was hard to know. But he placed the market. So I guess, IPO, they had a big IPO, and I was reading up on it. And so just see if you can help me sort of unpack this sentence and then explain why this would be a useful tool for you know, modern tech stack, modern developers, modern software companies. It says, Snowflake produces database software, they use the same standard as Oracle, but can be used in the cloud and scaled up and down as needed with variable pricing to match. While there are other large US cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft and Google alphabet that offer similar services. Snowflake is the only standalone company offering such software to run on all of those their cloud platforms. There's not really a pure play company on the market like Snowflake and independent technology investment analyst, Beth Kindig. So they're a startup. They're a pure play. It's data in the cloud. Is there anything special and interesting?

PF So wait, what happened? Why are they in the news? Help me understand this.

BP They went public, and it was a very successful IPO.


SC Yeah, they started their IPO at 120 it looks like. They kicked it off at 120. Yeah, went up to 250. And they're now that Snowflake is worth $70 billion.

PF Ohhh. Okay. Well, I know I know it. I remember this. Yeah. Now's a great time to buy a house in the mountains and get into making your own jams. Because if that's what's happening with our market and cloud services, mid pandemic.

SC There is, I'm on board with you with that. But I feel like we've been saying that for five years, and I've been putting on my safety belt, everytime.

PF It's just gonna get worse. It's just gonna get worse. It's just gonna be a worse. Okay, okay. I mean, here's where my brain goes, right? First of all, it's been around for a while good for Snowflake. Gotta be frank, I pay a little bit of attention to this world never popped up on my radar. So clearly problems with me.

SC Yeah, no, actually, this happened. This is something I went through last year, actually, because some folks at Snowflake reached out for some help with the, you know, managing their questions in the community, we have a report that we run every so often that shows us the trajectory of certain tags, right, like the growth rate, what tags are growing, they popped up on that chart just growing super quickly. So they've definitely been growing fast in our ecosystem.

PF So they have a product that has a tremendous trajectory.

BP And like many tech IPOs, big revenue growth and bigger losses. That's a story I've also heard. [Ben chuckles]

PF Would you agree with the market that they're worth more than...Dell?

SC I don't know that software companies are more worth more than like, $1,000? No, just kidding. [Ben laughs] Like 50 billion, 60 billion, and then like you look at it's like Ford worth 500 million. And you're like, how does any of this makes sense? This is all pretend and lives in computers. So I don't know. Sure. Sure.

BP Stocks is all about projections of future earnings. So if you can be like, ''Look, my chart is going up into the right.'' As long as it doesn't doesn't change. People are like, ''Wow, well, someday you'll be worth infinite money''. And then they will accept pretty bonkers valuation.

PF Friends, this should not be taken as a future looking statement. This is just based on past performance and Ben's deep understanding of stonks.


BP Alright. The other story I thought I'd bring to you this morning was a little tweet I saw, there's some new stuff that just arrived from GitHub, take the command line to the next level, does this interest you with this change the way you work day to day?

SC So like one thing that if you use GitHub often, and especially if you're like moving between repositories, is that you find yourself often switching from the CLI to the web, as you like start creating pull requests and doing other things. So I think the ability to create pull requests from the CLI is very interesting, and allows for less of a context switch. I think would take getting used to I'm looking forward to trying it, but it seems like you can do a lot more which I mean, it seems like this is a long time coming.

PF I mean, it's a long, it's like 10 years coming. [Ben laughs] Will this allow me to never again have to create a repository locally, go to GitHub, create the repository and then copy and paste that?

SC That would be so nice.

PF That's all I want to do. I want to upload a repository directly to GitHub without having to go.

SC Yes. Well apparently you can. Look at that!

PF That's 90%--

BP It'll make your day, so much--[Ben laughs]

PF 90% of my GitHub usage is crappier for file repository. I made a deal with myself that I will have a folder called Dev, and then all my little weekend projects and so forth, will actually live in there and then end up on GitHub version controlled, so that, yeah, just so I have a record because I work on these projects. And then I'll go back, this will happen to both of you, bless you, you go back. And you're like, ''Oh, I actually built that four years ago'' because it's just the same, like dictionary files over and over again. Good job, GitHub. Thank you. I'm glad you're--

SC Yeah! looking forward to using it.

BP Yeah. It's fun when people build little things like that, where it's like, yeah, this is this is 10 seconds out of every hour that I just despise. And now I can skip that part. That's great.

PF It's good of them, because very few of their users actually use the command line to use Git, a command line utility. So it's great for them to write--


BP Ironically. It's in the name. Yeah.

SC Yeah. It does seem like why so long?

PF Well, product roadmap, Sara, product roadmaps, you know, that JIRA ticket for `make it actually usable for the users` like that was just sitting there.

SC Just hasn't been prioritized. [Ben laughs] You know, it's funny is that, you know, they just started doing their public roadmap. So maybe those things could be linked.

PF You know they don't use JIRA, I should be really clear. Of course, they use...

SC GitHub issues?

PF Oh, no. What was the one that started with red that was based on Ruby? Ah, there have been so many, but they better use GitHub issues.

SC Yeah.

BP The other day, we were talking about VS code and how popular it was and how it had changed quite a bit of the last like five or 10 years. And then I saw a story that they were going to sort of deprecate that, slowly take it away and like, merge those same things into GitHub, because they want everybody to just basically be in one place. Did you see that?

SC No, so that I saw that, I saw that you link that. It wasn't VS code. It was VS code cloud or something like that. It was basically like the cloud version of like, where you can ID in the cloud.

BP Gotcha. Gotcha.

SC The VS code is still alive and well.

BP Okay. Great. I was wondering why they would get rid of something that was certainly so popular.

PF I don't know why those don't fully catch on. I can't like it should be really obvious.

SC Remember Cloud Nine?

PF I do! I do! Like it should be like, it should be like, I open my browser and I start coding. I think Glitch does a good job with this. Like they all do. And then somehow I'm starting another frickin project in Emacs on my desktop.

SC Yeah, somehow you got me from VIM to Visual Studio code. But you can't get me past that.

PF And I don't know why. Because it's, you know, what I really want I actually love especially for JavaScript, like, I want that live inspectable view in the repple. And like, it's almost there were almost were like small talk was in 1979, but not quite. Sara, you had a very important thing to talk about. It's actually a very important thing. I'm being a little ironic, but it's it's serious. They're doing something interesting over it in JavaScript land.

SC Yeah. So this week, we heard the news that moment.js, is being, not sunset, but they're not addressing new issues. And...


PF Alright so wait, what's moment.js for the those of us who've never had to program JavaScript and time?

So moment.js is something that solves the hardest problem in programming, which is dates and time zones.

PF And it is, it's been a juggernaut like it, it's just part of life.

SC Yeah, it's a huge, it's a huge library. And this is another case where as open source maintainer, you just want to be done. You don't want to be you know, this is I've done my work. You're welcome. This is finished. And you can still have it if you want to, and people really don't like to hear that. But we're human beings. We're not machines,

PF Well, you know, what that is built into the culture. Like, if you go look at the FTP site for like, when's the last time that sed and grep got a significant update?

SC Yeah, yeah.

PF People do keep eyes on them. And there are kind of owners but they're not nobody's full time job. Right now, I don't think is grep.

SC Someone's listening right now really upset.

PF This will be a rough one admit, but I do like to go read the source code of Unix utilities, because like cowl and stuff like like, half the time, I'm like, ''Oh, no, not for me.'' But half the time you're like, ''this is so incredibly obvious.'' I learned a lot about how to think about computers. So those worlds change, but they change very, very slowly. And so moment. I mean, I really feel that this model. So first of all, let's be clear, like moment, served its time beautifully, but it also was very mutable. And so like there were some definite scrambled egg moments when you're using it, even though it was it was clear about what it was doing. It's just sort of like it inherited some of the complexity of date and time and Luxon, Its replacement, which is done by the same people has a much more sort of functional interface than moment does, which is kind of the whole way that JavaScript is gone. And so like, they did a good job. They're going to support all the code that's out there. I'm sure that there will be security fixes. But yeah, call it done. Date and Time doesn't need to change any more for you.


SC Yeah. And another thing that came with this, though, that I thought was really interesting, and it's unclear to me chicken and egg kind of thing, if this led to moment being sunset, or I don't know the right word here, because not being sunset, it's just not being maintained anymore, maybe.

PF Yeah, it's like, gently it's end of life, right? It's gently deprecated. Except it's open source. So it'll be around for it can be around for 100 years, if people wanted to.

SC As long as GitHub doesn't IPO and then, wait is GitHub IPO?

PF GitHub's owned by Microsoft, Sara.

SC Oh, nevermind. Has Microsoft IPO?

PF We should talk to somebody from the .net governance foundation. [Sara & Ben laugh]

SC What's a mutual fund?

BP I like that. We need to search for the word right, like gently put out to pasture not, Do Not Resuscitate. Right. It's like, no, don't fix it anymore. But also, we're not gonna like right, shut it down.

SC Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So though the one chicken and egg thing here is that something that happened around the same time was that Chrome, the inspector tool in lighthouse, it started flagging moment as a library you should replace. So they started, they added a new feature to lighthouse. And it will tell you, so if you look at the feature, if you actually look at the picture, that it gives you, the vibe you get, or like what I thought looking at this was okay, this, this tool is actually looking for larger libraries, and letting me know, so it's doing it by size. But actually, what I learned was not doing it by size, the the lighthouse team is actually flagging specific libraries that they think people should not use. And moment was one of them.

PF It is time to upgrade from a moment. It's true, Luxon, it makes life a lot easier. There's a couple other ones that are really good.

SC I think, though, that it's kind of it's a little bit scary that the Chrome Dev Tools team is deciding what library should be used and what aren't. I know that there's a bunch on like, I know that they've been reaching out to some other folks to see if they can recommend it. The way that tool is communicated is different than what it actually is.

PF Your argument is that they should be more of a neutral party unless there's like an obvious security issue?


SC Yeah, exactly. Like, if you want to do it on size, do it on size, right? Like, look at all the libraries I'm using, if there's a really big one, say, ''Hey, here's this really big one, you know, like, maybe you should be using something different.'' But for them to determine a list of libraries they're no longer fans of, I don't know, this little concerning to me.

PF In my heart, I know you're right. In my head, I've stopped caring. [Sara & Ben laugh] And I don't know who I am right now. Like, there's a part of me that's just like, yeah, whatever that thing, man, when nothing would catch you on an immutable date variable, you'd really be in a world of pain. And then there's another part of me that's like, yes, it's incredibly important that very large platforms don't simply determine how everyone uses and applies web technologies. Instead, the core platform should be secure.

SC Yeah but take it away for a moment and turn it into like a library that you build a post like that y'all are still working on. You know, for some reason, the Chrome dev team just doesn't like it or they have a competing library that they'd rather use.

PF That's a bad, that's a gross feeling. It's a bad, bad. I have a, the term, what about Emeritus or Emeritus I think.

SC Yeah!

PF It's a, it's a library, the library is got Emeritus status, you know, it's still there. It's still Welcome to comes to all those events at the college. It still teaches like one class or like--

SC Shouldn't still becoming the parties but somehow does.

BP Puts on the fancy wizard robes for for the graduation ceremony. Yeah.


BP So we got a question to the podcast email, asking if we could talk a little bit more about what's going on with relocation and what's going on with changing benefits because Sara and I had chat about this little. So there's a story from Bloomberg from yesterday, Stripe workers who relocate in a $20,000 bonus, and then a 10% pay cut. So you leave San Francisco and New York, you head to the to the middle of the country, they'll give you 20 grand, and then a 10% pay cut. And then there's a long thread here on our programming, sort of trying to work that out. Well, if you move to Ohio, Kentucky, with a 10% pay cut and a 40% cut in the cost of living, you might come out ahead. Are you saying I have hippos in my swimming pool? I'm not saying you can't. And then there's a long digression here on whether or not hippos can live in Ohio. But bigger picture, I think this is pretty interesting that you know, a lot of people are considering relocating. It isn't just COVID, now it's COVID plus the wildfires, which have hit California again and again and again and really affected the Bay Area. And I wonder if we're going to see this like sort of mass migration of people to other areas.


SC Yeah, well, then you could talk about it. You've given up on New York City and people the city that birthed you, and right now you've run to northern New York.

BP Right. Yeah. Where's my $20,000 bonus? I don't know. It hasn't arrived yet. I'm waiting. Yeah, I mean, I made my decision based on the fact that I had two young kids and so we just felt like we needed space. And also, I made my decision based on the fact that I really wanted them to get in person school and they're offering that up here and not offering that really in New York. So those are my decisions. The hippos were plus the hippos were definitely a plus. But I also was reading this big story about, like, you know, the fact that Yeah, climate change is making these significant, sort of disaster events happen more often and happen more aggressively. And that there's, you know, sort of a scientific consensus that a lot of people are going to be moving away from the coasts over the next 20 years, I feel like, maybe we're starting to see the beginning of what could be like a, I don't know what you want to call it, and in landing and moving in and moving inwards and moving north and moving in.

PF An inland migration. This always comes up for, we're a small org, the rates for talent tend to be about, they level out, even over like the course of a couple of years, you'll find that there are very few, there are a few bargains in the world. It's definitely like, cost of living factors in when you're determining comp, probably, what was it like they said, a 10% reduction? Yeah, yeah, that's probably about normal. I mean, I just like it doesn't, I don't know, you have to be at a really significant scale, in order to think in that macro way about people's salaries. In general, what happens in a smaller org is you're like, oh, that seems pretty good. Now they're living out there. Alright, that's fine. Let's just make it work. You don't think about the macroeconomic picture, you think about the individual and you think about like, where they're at and what they're asking for. And where you see it is like, if someone's moving to New York City to be closer to our firm, we're going to need to comp them more, because the cost of living is greater. That's happened a couple times. So it's just, it's more, it's often more in the other direction than it is in this sort of like, like, look, I'm in a services business, I need an office where people can come and see how we work and talk to us. That is real. I can't.


SC See the cool snacks your developers eat.

PF For real, like there is an element of like, that's how humans make decisions. And if you want to factor that out and have a story about how that could all work remotely, that's great. Go build that firm like that. I think you could probably even succeed. But the pattern that I know works involves a lot of interaction with human beings around big tables. And so like that's going to happen again, because that's how humans are. But will it change a lot? Because we went through an incredibly disruptive and really long period of time where we had to reevaluate a lot of the ways we work. Absolutely. Things will change.

BP Yeah, it says here in a poll of about 6000 people, 44% said, they'd be willing to make the trade, take the pay cut, but you know, move somewhere where I guess they feel like they have more spare.

PF Come on, the Bay Area literally sucks right now, it's $8 million for an apartment. You know, everybody, everybody hates each other.

SC It's ridiculous.

BP You can't go outside, you can't breathe.

PF And it's on fire. And if you're a person who lives there and loves it, like that, is you're gonna connect to it and a lot of different ways. But if you're somebody who moved there, from a place where you can have a reasonable life, and you don't truly want to be there.

SC Oh, yeah, no, I'll tell you my experience. I'm like, this isn't eighty years ago, this is like five years ago, I was building julbots. We did a hardware accelerator in San Francisco. And for 1500 dollars a month, I was able to live in apartment with 10 other adults. And the apartment was like someone's garage. And we were commanded by our landlord to not answer any questions of anyone that walks up on to us on the street with questions about where we're living. [Ben laughs] For the low, low price of $1500.


PF No, I mean, it's just that criminality. And it's here. And look, I get a lot of people over the years, who are like, should I move to New York City? My answer is typically, I mean, it's really up to you, you should figure out ways to spend time here first. But if someone is over 30, and they have kids, or they're in a settled life...

SC The answer is no.

PF Well it's not, it's not a no, it's just like, you will be giving up a lot and probably a lot more than you consider. And the way I describe it is like an urban area is essentially a large technology of its own really, it's just a set of interlocking technologies that you can either commit to master. But there are a tremendous trade offs. And yeah, like I love those trade offs. And that attracted me to the place. That's why I never left. But if I was living in an eight room house in a nice state, in a good small city near universities with like cool bookstores and good coffee, and my friends were there and I moved to New York City. And suddenly I had three rooms and my kids were yelling, and I was in a part of Brooklyn where the pictures of the apartment didn't show that the walls were actually made out of thin sheets of tin foil. Yeah. And you get so screwed over until you learn how transactions work here.


BP Asked four years ago, our lifeboat of the week, ''code stops executing when a user clicks on the console window. I've got a console application that executes my code without user interaction, but if they click, uh oh, all execution stops.'' And then we've got an answer here. ''This happens if you have a quick edit mode enabled on the console window'' and then they've got some code here to help them handle this error. So shout out to Jim Michelle for that lifeboat and helping people click.


SC Helping people click. Awesome.

BP Yeah, helping the people click. Alright everybody. Thanks for listening. I'm Ben Popper, Director of Content here at Stack Overflow. And you can always find me on Twitter @BenPopper. If you have an experience as a software developer, where you're thinking about moving or your company is offering up some kind of incentive that deals with salary. We'd like to hear about it, because I think this is a topic on a lot of people's minds, and we're curious to know what you're thinking.

SC And I'm Sara Chipps, Director of Community here at Stack Overflow. You can find me on GitHub at @SaraJo. Please check out my friend Jeff's Kickstarter is bit.ly/booksKickstarter.

PF And I'm Paul Ford, friend of Stack Overflow co-founder of Postlight a, you know what, just go check us out Postlight.com, that I won't even try to explain it.

BP Great digital services firm.

PF That's what we like to hear.


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